Category Archives: inspiration

meet reeanna: daughter, cousin, friend

A few Christmases ago, my mom planned the first-ever Ramazini Run. She rented a van for us to cram into, and we pretty much ate and went shopping all day with the aunts, cousins, and sisters—all the girls in the family! My dad and uncle were the chauffeurs.

A few Christmases ago, my mom planned the first-ever “Ramazini Run.” She rented a van for us to cram into, and we pretty much ate and went shopping all day with the aunts, cousins and sisters—all 11 girls in the family! My dad and uncle were our chauffeurs, and that’s ReeAnna in the middle front.

Each week, Kate and I are proud and grateful to share the stories of inspiring, empowering, kind and encouraging women across the Midwest. They’re building businesses, catalyzing change, and paving their paths through the world. But as we prepared for this week, my family suffered a massive loss of one very special woman. Last Thursday night, November 5, my big cousin ReeAnna Ramazini was taken from this world too soon. My funny, hard-working, generous 35-year-old cousin was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and my family is reeling. Personally, I’m still about 20 percent sure this can’t be real. But I don’t think a bad dream would last this long.

As the only other only child in my family, my super-cool cousin Ree (who had the CUTEST friends my 9-year-old self could imagine) told me when I was little that she did not like me and that I should talk to her when I’m older. I think I got a little taste of my own version of a big sister from ReeAnna. Feisty, straightforward and fun, she was nine years older and definitely one of those cousins that was so cool to imitate when I was growing up—so I’m positive I earned that comment. Continue reading

these are the times to grow our souls.

[credit: Kindred_Post]

[credit: Kindred_Post]

I didn’t ever get a chance to meet Grace Lee Boggs. But she taught me. 

Grace—revolutionary, teacher, activist, leader—taught me:

The power of rooting in one location to make a difference.
The choice to change yourself to change the world.
The opportunity that comes with each conversation.
The encouragement to never get stuck in old ideas.

And apparently, that the best gin and tonic is made with Hendrick’s. I look forward to testing this in her memory.

(Check the #GraceLeeTaughtMe hashtag for other lessons that have spread from her beloved Detroit across the world.)

After 100 years and 100 days on this earth, Grace is still teaching me, and I know she is still teaching hundreds, thousands, most likely millions. Continue reading

our chicago pwp party!

IMG_9476Last Thursday night, September 24, Alysse and I hosted our second PWP party—this time in Chicago at Beauty & Brawn Art Gallery & Think Space! Whenever I throw a party, I somehow convince myself that NO ONE is going to show up. So until people started trickling in on Thursday evening (besides my mom, who showed up first), I was panicking.

But after the last person had gone home with her custom Big White Yeti candle and a phone full of new connections, we cleaned up, full of joy and exploding with pride and gratitude. Over the course of 3 hours, we had about 35 of my favorite people on this planet gathered in Beauty and Brawn, and I can’t wait to do it again.

For Alysse and me, it’s all about creating our own kind of community—a community of women united not by occupation or demographics or geographics. No, these women are united by something bigger: their ambition and passion to make the most out of this life. That is one of the main reasons Alysse and I write this blog and have gatherings like this. We are lucky enough to get to meet these amazing women and tell their stories every week—but when we’re sitting one-on-one with them, listening to their triumphs and disappointments and lessons learned, we can’t ignore the overwhelming desire to connect them to others who know exactly how they feel. We try our very best to portray each woman in our blog posts as who she really is, but there’s nothing like the feeling you get hearing someone’s story firsthand. And that is the inspiration for creating the PWP community. Continue reading

our first pwp party!

Last Thursday, we hosted our first-ever real-life PWP party! We have talked with each other and the women we interview about bringing everyone together for more than two years now, so we finally set a date and made it happen. June 30, oh, you were a good day.

It was so exciting and fun to bring together nearly 40 people—including women we’ve featured from Milwaukee, friends, and panachies-to-be—in one of our favorite Milwaukee spots that we also happen to have featured: The Ruby Tap. Brooke, Sarah and their staff graciously hosted our gathering and put together the most delicious cheeses, charcuterie, olives, almonds and popcorn to pair with our glasses of rosé, pinot and more. Yum yum yum—same thing next week?IMG_8865

Top Five Moments: Continue reading

piequest pilgrimage

I just got home from a journey so intense, so grueling and so challenging, I’m not sure I can share the full extent of it with just words.

That’s why I’m glad we have pictures. (And taste buds and imaginations!)

My mom and I just got back from the First Annual PieQuest Pilgrimage! And it was deeee-licious.

We decided to take three days to explore and locate some of the Midwest’s best pie. And we didn’t forget the rest of the family: fruit pies, cream pies, quiches and tarts! Potpies, pasties, and even a cobbler made the docket. We ranked them by crust, filling and overall experience.

We deviated quite a bit from our original plan (pictured), and instead went Madison >> Viroqua, Wis. >> Red Wing, Minn. >> Stockholm, Wis. >> Minneapolis >> Pepin, Wis.

We deviated quite a bit from our original plan (pictured), and instead went Madison >> Viroqua, Wis. >> Red Wing, Minn. >> Stockholm, Wis. >> Minneapolis >> Pepin, Wis.

Continue reading

happy father’s day!

Yesterday was Father’s Day and all we kept hearing on the radio was how Mother’s Day was way more important. We thought, well that’s pretty ridiculous! Dads are important, too! So today, the day after the Day of the Dad, we wanted to write about a certain group of people, the likes of whom are rarely discussed on this blog: Guys! Needless to say, none of what we or our awesome Panachies do would be possible without our dads. PWP is equipped with no shortage of fatherhood: Kate’s dad Stan and stepdad Dave as well as Alysse’s superfantastic dad Ken. Steve of Purple Door and Steve with First Class Care have been featured on the blog, and since we’ve started writing in 2013, no fewer than five PWP babies have been made, all with great dads (with panache).

Alysse and Dad! #nofearkengear

Alysse and Dad! #nofearkengear

Whether your dad is your rock, your support system, your best friend, your caregiver or even just your sperm donor, let’s all take time to thank them for giving us life so we can go on to be the best we can be! Continue reading

the best boss ever

Kate and I were talking this week, and she said, “It’s not always easy to be a human who has to deal with other humans.” She is hilarious—and right. After all, she has to meet with ME every Monday night! But this applies to all of the humans in your life: friends, family, co-workers, bosses…

Best Boss

Duncan Ferguson’s “Best Boss” study kept finding five pervasive themes. Looks like they align with what we’re hearing, too!

We’re all a little crazy, messy and unpredictable, but when you’re a manager, somehow it seems like it gets even more complicated. Kate and I think about this so much, interviewing entrepreneurs and women taking leading roles in their careers all over the Midwest. You get a promotion for being great at your job and, all of a sudden, you’re a boss. Or you start a company and have to hire a bunch of people you don’t quite trust yet. Or maybe you always wanted to be a great people developer, but didn’t realize how hard it really is. Kate’s mom always says: “Leadership would be easy if it weren’t for the people.” I’m in a pretty fantastic situation, because Kate (and her mom) work in leadership development and culture transformation, so not only do we talk about this all the time, but she actually knows things.

We thought it would be interesting, empowering and inspiring to hear what some of our friends, loved ones, and even my last supervisor thought of the best bosses they’ve experienced. The answers weren’t quite as diverse as I expected—a few even said they hadn’t had that great of bosses yet—so I’ll share four of the core tips I distilled from everyone’s comments that seem to add up to the Best Bosses Ever.

May we know them, may we work for them, and may we be them. Continue reading

Farewell to Forget Me Knodt

One of the most joyful parts of writing this blog has been watching the women we meet grow and change and follow their dreams. For example, Lisa of Sister Pie in Detroit just celebrated her first full week as proud owner of her very own brick-and-mortar pie shop! Moriah in Milwaukee recently got her dream job where, in her words, “IT’S MY JOB TO LISTEN TO OUR COMMUNITY AND MAKE CHANGE!” (High five these two when you see them next!)

Others surprise us. This is the week Janessa, formerly and forever of Forget Me Knodt, turns from boss lady into Employee of the Month. (Fleur Inc., you’re going to have your hands full… of flowers!)

With no further ado:
“A Fond Farewell”
by Janessa Ambrosio

fmk_closing Continue reading

Turn Your Dreams into Actions

People with Panache

Our first PWP business card! We can’t wait for our new ones to be ready very soon!

Alysse: On Tuesday night, an HDMI cord almost ruined my plans. (And I’m still not entirely sure what an HDMI cord is, but anyway…)

Eight friends were coming over to watch The Empowerment Project, and I didn’t have quite the right technology going on… so we crammed onto my two couches, put my laptop on a kitchen chair, passed around some popcorn and my favorite apple-Brie cheese deliciousness and watched The Empowerment Project! WAY more special than using a TV, right?

Kate: About 90 miles south, a few nights later, I gathered a bunch of friends and a couple bottles of vino and nuzzled up (probably a little less close together) for The Empowerment Project. We teared up at the pilot’s story, laughed at the mathematician, and had one of those nights where you talk so much that all of a sudden it’s 11:30, and you feel like you’ve only gotten started. Continue reading

Wake Up Call

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that—that is what life is.” There’s more to this Amy Poehler quote here, but this is exactly what we’ve been talking about all day!

Quote: She believed she could, so she did.We have been interviewing and talking and getting all out of our comfort zones (more on that later) for a couple months now to bring People with Panache back to you.

(Okay, okay, since September.)

But, contrary to all we’ve learned from interviewing 84 people across the Midwest since we launched in 2013, we were waiting for the “right” time. We wanted to have our new business cards ready, our new website design totally perfect, new photos, and all these things—that we are still working on—but we could. NOT. wait to come back! Continue reading